Secret of Successful Entrepreneur Revealed at Dinner Party

One of the most powerful business lessons I learned came during a dinner party.

About a year ago an entrepreneur joined our family for dinner.  He just completed a deal in which he purchased, rehabilitated, and sold a business for a 300% profit in just 26 months.

I thought this was an amazing turnaround.  He netted a significant (seven-figure) profit.  I congratulated him and asked if this was the first time he had done something like this.  To my surprise, he said:

“No. It’s the fifth time.”

Five times he has purchased a business, turned it around, and sold it for a profit of at least 100%.

I asked him if he would share his “secret system” with me.

He laughed and said:

“Of course.”

We left the room where we were having dinner and went into my office. A few other guests joined us – also curious about the secrets of a successful entrepreneur.

He went over to the white board hanging on the wall and he wrote down the following:

Step 1:  Decide what I want the outcome to be

Step 2: Make quick decisions

Step 3: Work night and day until I achieve the outcome

Then he turned to us and said:

“That’s the process.

You either make things happen or you control how you react to things when they happen.

I make things happen 80-90% of the time.  The things I make happen all lead to my desired outcome.

In this last business, I knew the business was failing because the sales and marketing effort was poor.

I knew if I improved revenue, earnings would improve, and I knew if I improved earnings, there were 3 or 4 bigger companies who would purchase the business within five years.

So I bought the business, rehabilitated the sales team, and invested in better marketing.

I focused on this night and day and in two years I went to all of the bigger companies in this industry and asked them to consider acquiring us.

Two of them made me offers. I took the best offer and exited the business.

Here’s the importance of each step:

Step 1:  The Outcome – I had to find a business that was ripe for this kind of turnaround.  They are out there but I had to review a few hundred opportunities before I found this one.  Most people do not have that kind of patience or discipline.

Step 2: Make Quick Decisions – When I found the business, I moved immediately.  I made the offer to purchase it after only reviewing the financials for a couple of hours.  I had experience in this area but I knew that if I didn’t take action now, someone else would jump on this opportunity.

We signed the letter of intent 24 hours later, on a Sunday morning.  And we closed on the transaction in two weeks.

Speedy decisions always trump slow, plodding activity.

Step 3:  Work – Most people hate work.  I love to throw myself into something. I gutted the sales team and hit the road selling the company’s products myself for 3 months.  I learned the sales process and shortened the sales cycle – cut it in half.  Then I hired people to implement the new sales system.

Now most people will look at the two years I invested in this business and say I made a lot of money in a short time.

I look at it and figure that I know how to make things happen quickly and unlock profit from failing businesses, but, more importantly, I make good, quick, decisions toward a specific outcome and I work my ass off.

I just gave you guys my formula. You can all do this.  Will you?

Or will you make excuses and say this is not for you?”

Everyone in that room made a comment indicating they could (and would) take action based upon what the entrepreneur shared with us.

As a result of that conversation, I changed my business model.  I’m happy to say I’m on track for significant growth year-over-year.

Now that I’ve shared this story, you know the secret of the successful entrepreneur.  What will you do with it?